Chronic dry eye can be a frustrating condition to live with, and it can affect your normal daily routine.
Making a few basic lifestyle changes can help increase eye moisture and reduce irritation. Following a routine in the morning and before bed can help you ensure that your eyes remain lubricated throughout the day.
Persistent dryness can lead to complications like blurry vision, corneal ulcers, and anxiety. It can also make it harder to work, drive, or read. Dryness doesn’t have to have this overwhelming effect, though.
Here are nine simple adjustments you can make in the mornings and at night to improve your symptoms.
Using a hair dryer can speed up your hair drying time and reduce your styling time. But while it serves a useful purpose, your hair dryer can also cause dry eye symptoms.
Hot air from a hair dryer can make your tears evaporate too quickly, triggering your symptoms. In addition, hair dryers can worsen existing dry eye symptoms.
Towel dry your hair and allow it to air dry before styling. If you must use a hair dryer, apply eye drops before use to add moisture, and re-wet your eyes midway if necessary.
You may wake up with dry eye symptoms like blurry vision, redness, and a gritty sensation in your eyes. Sometimes this happens if your eyelids don’t close completely while asleep.
If you frequently experience dry eyes in the morning, apply eyedrops to your eyes each night before bed. Also, certain types of lubricating eye drops or ointments are best used before bedtime because they’re thicker and can blur your vision.
Pain, itchiness, and irritation can get your morning off to a bad start.
Sometimes, low humidity in the air can cause dry eye symptoms. If your eyes feel worse in the mornings, sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom.
Low humidity can cause your tears to evaporate too quickly. A humidifier adds moisture to the air, which can prevent dry eyes and reduce your symptoms.
Apply a warm compress to your eyes for about 10 minutes in the mornings and at night to relieve chronic dry eye symptoms.
This remedy not only soothes irritation, but also helps release oils in your eyelid glands. This can lubricate and ease irritation on the surface of your eyes.
Washing your eyelids with warm, soapy water or baby shampoo in the mornings and at night may also reduce your chronic dry eye symptoms.
This technique gently washes away bacteria that can cause blepharitis. This condition happens when oil glands become clogged, leading to inflammation of the eyelids. Dry eye is a symptom of eyelid inflammation, along with redness and itchiness.
Long-term use of contact lenses is another factor that can lead to chronic dry eye. Wearing contact lenses designed specifically to help your eyes retain moisture can help. It also helps to remove your lenses earlier in the night.
Rather than wearing your contact lenses from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., for example, remove your lenses several hours earlier and wear eyeglasses instead. Also, don’t sleep in your lenses since it reduces the amount of oxygen your eyes receive.
Reading before bed is a favorite bedtime ritual for some. This might be the only time you have for reading during the day, and this relaxing activity may induce sleep.
But reading before bed can also contribute to dry eyes. There’s a tendency to blink less when reading, resulting in poor eye lubrication.
To prevent dry eyes while reading before bed, practice the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from your reading material for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away.
Also, make a conscious effort to blink more while reading, or apply lubricating eye drops before picking up your book.
Blurry vision in the mornings is another sign of chronic dry eye. Blinking several times upon waking up can get rid of blurriness. It also helps to gently massage your eyelids for a few minutes.
A massage can stimulate your tear glands and ease dryness. You can also massage your eyelids before bedtime to reduce dry eye symptoms in the mornings.
Poor eye lubrication is also a sign of mild dehydration. If you live with chronic dry eye, dehydration can make your symptoms worse.
This can happen if you’re eating too much salty food and not drinking enough fluids. Rather than start your day with a cup of coffee, drink a glass of water, and drink 8 to 10 glasses throughout the day.
Increasing your fluid intake and using artificial tears may help remedy irritation, redness, and other symptoms of chronic dry eye.
Chronic dry eye can make simple tasks difficult, especially if dryness prevents you from working, driving, or reading. But establishing a healthy morning and nightly routine may relieve symptoms.
If your symptoms don’t improve, see your eye doctor, an ophthalmologist, or an optometrist. You may need a prescription eye drop to treat chronic dry eye and reduce your risk of complications.